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Qualcomm mapping out 4 rural connectivity projects

New Delhi, Sept. 9 Technology major Qualcomm Inc is planning four new initiatives under its Wireless Reach programme to provide connectivity and applications to rural India.

The company is in talks with service providers, non-government organisations, and financers to put together projects in various part of the country. The projects will use wireless technology to offer relevant services to the rural people.

One of the new projects is being firmed up in association with the Azim Premji Foundation. These new initiatives will take the total number of India-specific rural communications projects from Qualcomm to eight.

For fishermen

Qualcomm?s Wireless Reach initiative supports programmes and solutions that bring the benefits of connectivity to developing communities. The company had recently announced a project called Fisher Friend that provides real time information regarding weather and price to fishermen.

?The project has been launched as a pilot in Tamil Nadu. If it is successful, we hope to scale this up to fishermen communities in other parts of the country,? said Mr Parag Kar, Director (Government Affairs), Qualcomm India.

The company has roped in M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Tata Teleservices, and Astute Systems Technologies for this project. Fisher Friend provides access to a menu of services on specifically designed mobile handsets uniquely focused on fishing communities such as sea wave heights and satellite scan data about fish shoals.

Button-click info

All information is accumulated in a central server at MSSRF. Upon sending a single-button-click request from a menu-driven client software on the mobile phone, fishermen get access to vital updates on opportunities, risks and fish trade information, in a vernacular language (Tamil at present).

?With operators looking to roll out services in rural areas, we as enablers of technology are responsible to make a viable business case for them. Therefore, we are developing programmes that makes it meaningful for consumers to use wireless technology,? said Mr Kanwalinder Singh, President, Qualcomm India and SAARC.

The company had earlier announced an alliance with the Nasscom Foundation to provide CDMA-based wireless Internet connectivity solutions to 65 Village Resource Centres under Nasscom?s Rural Knowledge Network Program.

Farmer support

Qualcomm has also given a grant of $100,000 to Tata Consultancy Services to design a mobile application to help farmers increase their crop yield.

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